Arts & Culture · Poetry

Poetry Sunday: A Child Escapes

Would that everyone’s summer could be idyllic, but we all know that is not the case. The nightmare of divorce is what haunts this poem, and yet Laura Davies Foley, a poet we last brought to you in the summer of ’13, ends with the reminder that the resilience of childhood is a redeeming force.


Summer Waters

The August I was eight,
just before the divorce,
mom would get into the wine each night,
staring beyond me into purgatory,
corners of her lips curving up, falling,
in a strange, rhythmic dance.

Then she’d scratch her face to sores,
cigarettes glowing in the semi-dark,
like warning lights, and I’d escape,
run to town to leap the highest bridge,
falling deep in summer waters—
it felt like flying.

–Published with the poet’s permission


Laura Davies FoleyLaura Davies Foley is the author of four poetry collections: Joy Street, The Glass Tree, Syringa, and Mapping the Fourth Dimension.The Glass Tree is a 2012 ForeWord book of the Year Award Finalist. It was also chosen as finalist for the Philip Levine Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in journals and magazines including Valparaiso Poetry Review, Inquiring Mind, Georgetown Review, and in the anthology In the Arms of Words: Poems for Disaster Relief. She has received the Grand Prize for the Atlanta Review’s International Poetry Contest, a poetry fellowship from the Frost Place, and Columbia University’s Bunner Prize for her work on Wallace Stevens. She holds graduate degrees in English Literature from Columbia University and is a volunteer chaplain and creative arts facilitator in hospitals. She lives in Pomfret, Vermont, with her partner and their three dogs.

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